Parliamentary failure and EFF propaganda notwithstanding, Malema & Shivambu did benefit from VBS looting

Parliamentary failure and EFF propaganda notwithstanding, Malema & Shivambu did benefit from VBS looting
Illustrative image | Sources: EFF leader Julius Malema. (Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake) | EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti) | Gallo Images | Leila Dougan | Wikimedia

Parliament’s probe into the involvement of EFF leaders Floyd Shivambu and Julius Malema in the looting of VBS Mutual Bank proves two obvious facts: The EFF has an organised propaganda network that springs into action when the party’s leaders are criticised or proven to be corrupt. And Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests is slow, inefficient and displays no understanding of the laws that govern our institutions or the use of fronts to hide illicit money flows.

EFF supporters on social media and in the more formalised media sector have restarted their propaganda in an attempt to exculpate Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu of stealing and laundering VBS Mutual Bank funds. 

The lies in support of the party president, Malema, and deputy president, Shivambu, are in direct conflict with findings by Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests published on Monday. They can easily be proved wrong.

In its statement, the committee said its members had “resolved that it is unable to make a finding” that Malema breached Parliament’s ethical conduct of code in not declaring how he benefited from stolen VBS bank funds. 

In a tweet and news article that is an obvious lie when read in conjunction with Parliament’s press release, the Sunday World newspaper declared,  “Malema did not benefit a cent from VBS loot — Parliament”.

Sunday World is owned by property developer David Mabilu’s Fundudzi Media. Mabilu is a longtime friend and sponsor of Malema, who famously attended Mabilu’s 2011 wedding in Mauritius wearing a purple suit. Read more about Fundudzi Media and the strange case of its Lottery partnership here

(Photo: X / @incwajana)

Businessman David Mabilu. (Photo: Facebook / David Mabilu Foundation)

(Jacaranda News similarly declared that there is “no evidence” that Malema received money from VBS bank.)

The ethics committee, however, found that Shivambu did not declare R180,000 in VBS funds funnelled through a front company, Sgameka Projects (Pty) Ltd. As punishment, the committee will recommend to the House a reduction of nine days’ salary. The findings are based on an affidavit by VBS liquidator Anoosh Rooplal.

In the same alternative universe as Sunday World, the EFF propaganda machinery was quickly switched on to argue that because VBS Mutual Bank did not directly pay the mentioned funds straight to Shivambu’s bank account, it cannot be said that the funds actually originated from stolen VBS loot. This is an argument that will only work on X (formerly known as Twitter), and never in a court or legal, rational investigation.

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, without referencing the latest VBS drama, claimed there are attempts to scupper the EFF’s chances before the 2024 elections and also attempted to divert attention to the failures of opposition parties. Based on external public relations advice, Malema and Shivambu have carefully avoided publicly commenting on the VBS issue.

An alternative universe in which Malema and Shivambu are innocent

The propaganda created by EFF supporters and news outlets is based on a manipulation of reality. It further ignores that the SA Revenue Service (SARS) traced R3.6-million in VBS loot as well as other undeclared income flowing directly into Floyd Shivambu’s FNB Private Wealth bank account. 

The SARS’s Criminal and Illicit Economic Activities division further demanded R28.2-million in unpaid taxes and penalties from his brother Brian Shivambu who acted as Floyd Shivambu and Malema’s front in the VBS scandal.

Brian Shivambu “defrauded” VBS Mutual Bank out of about R16-million, SARS auditors and investigators found, and his “obstructive” conduct is regarded as “intentional tax evasion”.

SARS investigators also liquidated Grand Azania (Pty) Ltd. This company was Floyd Shivambu’s front and funnelled millions of rand directly to his bank account, bought assets on his behalf and supported his lifestyle. 

The EFF propaganda further ignores that Brian Shivambu had signed a secret contract acknowledging that he gratuitously received VBS loot and promised to pay it back.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Floyd Shivambu’s brother quietly pays back R4.55m, admits he received the VBS money gratuitously

Lastly, the lies ignore Scorpio’s painstakingly clear investigations between 2018 and 2022 showing that not only did Malema and Floyd Shivambu assist in the looting of VBS Mutual Bank, but more importantly, that they received millions of rands in benefits and cash from benefactors who seemingly expected some political muscle or manipulated tenders in return. 

Scorpio’s investigations proved that the EFF received VBS loot in its Standard Bank accounts and that Malema and Shivambu were kept politicians. Neither Malema nor the brothers Shivambu ever took this journalist or Daily Maverick to court, or to Press Ombudsman.

On Monday, in reaction to Parliament’s latest announcement, the EFF claimed with renewed fervour that it would take Parliament to court to challenge the sanction against Shivambu. It is important to note that the EFF, Malema and the brothers Shivambu since 2018 made continuous threats of court action in relation to the VBS saga, but only made good in the case of former EFF MP Thembinkosi Rawula – a case that ended in tears for the EFF in the Supreme Court of Appeal, even though Rawula appeared unrepresented.

Rawula claimed in a Facebook post that Malema had admitted in an EFF meeting to “taking VBS money to finance the revolution” and that “sometimes we are forced to kiss dogs or the devil to get funding”. The EFF fighters were obviously unaware that the party itself received very little of the VBS money and that its two top leaders made way with most of the loot.

Rawula won the defamation case in the Supreme Court of Appeal. During arguments, a Full Bench of five judges asked why Malema or the EFF have never sued this journalist or Daily Maverick. This was met with silence, of course. You can read the court judgment here.

How the complaints to Parliament’s ethics committee came about

The background story of why Parliament’s ethics committee probed Malema and Shivambu relates to a complaint by former DA MP Phumzile van Damme in 2018 about VBS payments to Shivambu that he did not declare.

Similarly, the DA’s John Steenhuisen referred a complaint to the committee in 2019 alleging that Malema had also breached the Code of Ethical Conduct. The complaints were partially based on investigative reporting by this journalist published in Daily Maverick

VBS Theft, Money Laundering & Life’s Little Luxuries: Julius Malema’s time of spending dangerously

Parliament’s Code of Ethical Conduct states that all MPs must disclose financial interests, including whether they are remunerated outside Parliament, sponsorships, gifts of more than R1,500 and company directorships. You can find the rules here.

In light of the above-mentioned evidence, of which the SARS’s evidence is under oath and in open court, the ethics committee’s probe is concerning, meek and insufficient. 

The committee disclosed that it did ask the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) for “financial intelligence on whether [Malema] received money through Mahuna’s Absa bank account”.

Mahuna Investments (Pty) Ltd was Julius Malema’s front in this scheme. The director is Malema’s cousin Matsobane Phaleng. Parliament never got around to delve into these facts.

That the committee even approached the FIC, suggests it does not understand the laws that govern the institution. Predictably, the FIC declined as the disclosure of Malema or Shivambu’s financial affairs to Parliament would be against the law. 

But even the framing of the questions suggests that the ethics committee considers illicit money flows to hop from VBS Bank and Sgameka Projects directly into the personal account of Malema. The committee showcased no insight into the intricacies of money laundering and seems to have had no regard for the complex web of benefactors and fronts surrounding Malema and Shivambu.  

It further took the committee five and four years, respectively, to come to a conclusion after Van Damme and Steenhuisen submitted their complaints.

Speaking directly to the propaganda, it is important to note that the failure of the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests to find traces linking directly to Malema does not mean that no evidence exists. In fact, it is testimony to the layers of fronts and roundabout ways used to get the stolen loot to Malema.

The propaganda is so clumsy that any reader who attempts to fact-check the propagandists as well as Daily Maverick’s reporting on the matter will easily be able to separate the wood from the trees. 

But it is partially effective, unfortunately, because people read tweets and other social media posts rather than long-form investigations supported by facts.

Scorpio will therefore publish an explainer below, with reference to our reporting on how Malema, Shivambu and the EFF benefitted from the VBS loot.

How did Shivambu and Malema take part in the looting of VBS Mutual Bank?

The SA Reserve Bank realised in 2018 that VBS Mutual Bank was a crime scene. A black hole of R2.7-billion ensured that the bank’s trading came to a halt in March that year.

The lost money belonged to the most vulnerable people in Limpopo and some of the poorest municipalities in the province. The SA Reserve Bank appointed advocate Terry Motau and the law firm Werksmans to investigate.

Their findings included that the bank managers, particularly CEO Tshifhiwa Matodzi, CFO Philip Truter, treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane and executive directors Paul Magula and Ernest Nesane, robbed the bank into insolvency between about 2015 and 2018.

The lion’s share was diverted to Matodzi and his acolytes, including ANC politician Danny Msiza. (Msiza was indicted by the National Prosecuting Authority and, astonishingly, after appearing in court, appointed as President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign leader in Limpopo.) 

Matodzi was clever in buttering his bread on both sides, and so it happened that the EFF leaders were included in the “loot for political muscle” scheme. Floyd Shivambu, close to Paul Magula, was the pointsman and his brother Brian was the front. Malema sat on the periphery and shared in the loot without too much involvement. 

WhatsApp messages that Scorpio has seen show that on at least seven occasions during 2017, Matodzi instructed millions of rands in stolen VBS money to be paid to Sgameka Projects (Pty) Ltd. VBS Bank received no service in return.

Brian Shivambu was Sgameka’s sole director, and VBS funds were Sgameka’s sole income. The company existed for no other reason than to receive and disburse stolen VBS funds. Matodzi called the Sgameka account at VBS “an extremely strategic account” and the stolen money “lobbying fees”. Read our detailed account here

So it happened that Sgameka illegally received at least R15.2-million in cash paid from VBS-linked companies as well as a home loan of R1.46-million brokered by Floyd Shivambu on behalf of the Shivambu parents and lastly a R4-million business loan (of which only R2.1-million was paid out) to Brian Shivambu’s now liquidated company Grand Azania.

Brian Shivambu was the sole director of Grand Azania, but Scorpio’s analysis of the company’s expenses and assets shows that almost all of it was for the benefit of Floyd Shivambu. The bank card linked to Grand Azania followed him around the country. Read our analysis here.

As previously mentioned, Mahuna Investments was Julius Malema’s front used in this scheme and its director is Malema’s cousin Matsobane Phaleng. 

Scorpio found at least R5.3-million in VBS loot was siphoned off from VBS Mutual Bank, through Sgameka Projects and Grand Azania, into Mahuna Investments. This is similar to Parliament’s finding, published on 2 October, that R4.8-million was paid from Sgameka Projects to Mahuna Investments.

But Parliament could not prove the link between Mahuna Investments and Julius Malema. 

Scorpio’s investigation and money flow analysis, however, has shown that the funds in Mahuna Investments paid for school-related expenses for Malema’s son, paid for Gucci, Louis Vuitton and tailored suits from designer Linda Makhanya, a Polokwane party venue and the EFF. The bank card linked to this account further followed Malema around the country. 

Shivambu and Malema have consistently professed their innocence. 

Read Scorpio’s investigations relating to Floyd Shivambu, Julius Malema, the EFF and the stolen VBS money:


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Andre Swart says:


    But the so called ‘fighters’ will soon rid themselves of their 2 shameless ‘commanders’!

    Watch this space!

  • sbuyanitp9 says:

    The parliamentary findings are correct, that’s the information at their disposal. No amount of fabrications will sway us. We stand by our leaders.
    My question to Poli…if your investigative journalism is proper and accurate, why isn’t the courts using it as a reference or source documentation to build the case. Why are the courts rejecting your so called impressive investigation. Because they amount to nothing other than fabrications and innuendo.
    People who looted VBS are in court, no Shivambu nor a Malema in court.


    If you want to see an arrest, i suppose you need to produce an accurate investigation. Until then, you’ll keep on recycling all your articles in the hope another fool will see things your way….a foolish way of going about it though and will yield no incriminating results.

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      Because we live in a gangster state. In any working country Julius and his brother would be in prison.
      And possibly you too given that birds of a feather usually flock together.

    • Charles R says:

      VBS Lootas

    • Miles Japhet says:

      Provide evidence that the graphic above, showing the flows of the money, are not factually correct.
      Copies of the bank accounts referred to will do the trick. Or are you afraid of the truth?
      The EFF has no social conscience – simply in the business of duping the undereducated in search of power and money!!

    • Brian Cotter says:

      Take the Hawks investigation of Babita where they did not investigate phone and laptop in white collar crime assassination a Parliamentary Investigation is easy to swing if the team does not want to find the Honorable Members guilty.

    • Dee Bee says:

      I’m assuming you simply skipped the actual article and decided to attack the journalist because it’s your party in the spotlight? Speaks volumes as to the kind of people who support Malema and Shivambu.

    • Steve Davidson says:


    • Steven D says:

      This comment is more evidence of the network of Malema/Shivambu sycophants/propagandists.

    • Nic van Wyk says:

      You are saying that Pauli is tarnishing the good names of Malema and Shivambu. Why then do they not take her to court for libel?
      Because they know they will be on a hiding to nothing.

      Wake up my friend and see the wood from the trees.

    • Grumpy Old Man says:

      I agree with you; it’s a disgruntled WMC Journalist spouting absolute hogwash!
      The next logical step for Messrs Malema & Shivambu then would be to take Pauli & the DM to Court, because this has now become a crusade on their part to discredit the EFF Leaders good names & to tarnish the image of that of the Party. These lies can no longer be given oxygen going into the 2024 elections because they are the work of foreign agents to destroy the true custodians of the revolution.
      Indeed, so convinced am I of the EFF Leaderships innocence that I would gladly contribute towards the costs of legal action against this Publication.
      Messrs Malema & Shivambu are no former President Zuma & do not shy away from Court as a means of proving their innocence.
      Let’s all get behind this – let this go to Court allowing for a discovery process to reveal the truth

      • Middle aged Mike says:

        You almost sound sincere. If you are I sincerely hope Messrs Malema and Shivambu will tap you for your pledge, hard.

        • Con Tester says:

          Nope, it’s pure satire. The last two sentences give it away entirely. Also, check out some of the writer’s other comments.

          • Middle aged Mike says:

            Thank goodness for that! I’ve never felt happier to have been hooked. Was distressing to think that someone who could string a coherent couple of paragraphs together could be quite so delusional.

      • Edward Visser says:

        Yes it’s obvious there is alot of money floating around in the eff.

    • Walter Spatula says:

      Calling someone “my girl” is patriarchal misogyny. Not unexpected, I guess.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      The fact that Pauli and the Maverick, not to mention every other outlet, haven’t been sued into bankruptcy by Malema, Shivambu and their ilk says it’s not only true but probably the tip of the iceberg. If ever you wanted proof of the fact that the criminal justice system in SA has been all but destroyed this saga should suffice.

    • André van Niekerk says:

      Let’s pretend your comment is honest, then the only conclusion can be that you are very gullible. Do you HONESTLY think that there is no prosecution because there is no case? Really?
      Maybe there is no prosecution because the overseers and the machinery have been captured? Have you heard that rumour before?

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    2 questions:
    1. Why is our legal system too weak to enforce the law and bring these criminals to justice?
    1. Does our ANC government not realise they are missing a golden opportunity to legally put criminals permanently out of commission?

    • Dee Bee says:

      2 answers – yes, and the ANC has no interest in putting criminals out of commission. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.

      • Dee Bee says:

        Sorry – missed the ‘why’ at the beginning of your first question! It takes investigators and prosecutors of exceptional bravery and integrity, not to mention scuppering your own career, to take on the politico-criminal elite.

    • Edward Visser says:

      That old phrase comes to mind, “don’t upset the feeding trough”

    • Eyes Wide Shut says:

      1. Because there isn’t a credible legal system – it’s easier to pick on the “average” criminal who can’t afford to defend himself/herself. But they’re the product of a collapsing state caused by politicians who can afford lawyers who can get them out of the mess.
      2. Because it would be criminals prosecuting criminals. A credible legal justice system can’t function like that.

  • Animal farm in evidence – some animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. Parliament can be so ineffective when it wants, shem

  • Dee Bee says:

    According to Parliament’s website, these are the members of the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members Interests:

    Ms Moji Lydia Moshodi (Chairperson)
    Mr Bekizwe Simon Nkosi (Chairperson)
    Ms Lindiwe Christabola Bebee
    Adv Glynnis Breytenbach
    Mr Ghaleb Kaene Yusuf Cachalia
    Mr Ndumiso Capa
    Mr Thamsanqa Simon China Dodovu
    Dr Mimmy Martha Gondwe
    Mr Tyotyo Hubert James
    Ms Cathlene Labuschagne
    Ms Regina Mina Mpontseng Lesoma
    Ms Dikeledi Gladys Mahlangu
    Mr Julius Sello Malema
    Ms Jane Manganye
    Ms Fikile Andiswa Masiko
    Mr Desmond Lawrence Moela
    Ms Mmabatho Olive Mokause
    Ms Winnie Ngwenya
    Mr Mandla Isaac Rayi
    Mr Nyiko Floyd Shivambu
    Ms Violet Sizani Siwela
    Mr Christiaan Frederik Beyers Smit
    Ms Liezl Linda Van der Merwe

    According to Parliament (although it’s entirely possible this is outdated and they simply have bothered to update it; you find that a lot on government websites), both Malema and Shivambu sit on the Committee! The composition of the Committee is 14 ANC members, 5 DA, 3 EFF and 1 IFP, from what I can see – are we allowed to see the voting record to see which toothless, clueless members decided they had nothing to answer for? So, assuming Malema and Shivambu recused themselves (surely???), it means that at least 10 members of other parties had to side with the remaining EFF member to get a 1 vote majority of the remaining 21 members. I can almost guarantee they were not from the DA or IFP!

  • Denise Smit says:

    What has happened to the lifestyle audits that was going to be done on the parliamentarians.? I would like to know where the EFF leaders get their R500000 watches, Gucci and designer clothes. They clearly earn much more (if it is legal or has inherited a lot of money) with the clear for everybody to see lifestyle that they live. Splashing money on horse racing, etc. And of course their Spanish friends who are linked to the illegal sigaret industry. And then they walk around in official workers house suits to proclaim they are of the working class. But of course in the ANC/EFF world as long as you can get away with it and making more noise than others you are innocent. You can call out others to “shut up” , and you earn the respect of your constituency by doing this. ……….and, and , and. And you draw people 300 big at a shutdown in Cape Town. You have shown your colours and the people are not blind or deaf. Denise Smit

  • Hilary Morris says:

    The sad part of this story is that it will be read by the converted only. As with all evidence of the corruption and fraud that defines the EFF and the ANC, it seems never to reach their voting base. The alternative thought is even more disturbing. It does reach the voters, whose sole wish is to emulate them?

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Only hogwash around here is EFF illogical propaganda

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    A substantial portion of the SA electorate must admire the thieves who steal from them to buy bling. What in the world is wrong with us?

    • Paddy Ross says:

      A great many people in the world today neither know nor care what words like ‘integrity’ and ‘morality’ mean. Literally, God save us.

  • Good work Pauli. Thank you for helping us decide how to proceed in the 2024 elections. Now, for balance – please write an article highlighting how Chris Pappas of the DA in KZN is facing allegations of nepotism involving a tourism organisation headed by his fiancé JP Prinsloo, which receives financial support from the municipality. Daily Maverick are the only ones who have not written about this. I think I know why. Maybe there was no writer available for the story? Maybe it is not a priority for DM? Maybe you believe it is a witch-hunt against Chris? Who knows. But with South Africa being South Africa – it is probably because he is white and DA. Simple. Don’t spew hate under this comment, it is what it is.

    • Ben Harper says:

      Erm, reading skills aren’t that great are they, there is an article on here abour Clr Papas

    • William Stucke says:

      Are you sure of that? Enter the following into your favourite search engine: “Chris Pappas”

      I think that you will find that the subject has been well ventilated on this site.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    The EFF troll farm is most productive. Admirable work ethic.

  • Mario de Abreu says:

    For a few months now all I read is how our politicians and ministers are raping our state coffers, how Malema and his thugs can do and say what they want without any fear of the consequences. If a minority member had publicly stated that he was not yet calling for the extermination of blacks he would be already serving a 20 year sentence. It’s plainly obvious that the EFF and the ANC are one. This does not bode well for SA. At the risk of sounding alarmist or pessimistic I do not see a future for our once beautiful and proud country. Short of calling for western powers to come to our aid and remove these gangsters by force, nothing will prevail. South Africans are clinging on to a thin thread of hope that next year’s elections will remove the ANC. As in other failed states in Africa, the elections will be rigged/stolen (yes, the IEC are complicit) and nothing will change. We will slide ever closer to a zimbabwe state with no employment or prospects and a worthless currency. China and Russia will continue to make inroads into our natural resources like minerals, mining, fishing and logging leaving our country raped and barren. In 5 or 10 years, as in the rest of Africa, there will be a coup by some despot who will want his turn at the feeding trough.
    We keep posting here as if our suggestions and rebukes of what these thugs are doing will make any difference. It won’t make one iota. We’ve been doing it for 25 years and where has it gotten us? They openly defy court orders to comply and nothing gets done. Perhaps a page out of their playbook, ie guerilla tactics? lobby to western powers to come to our aid? Withold our taxes? (after all it is their lifeblood and reason they enter politics) Or simply emigrate? There is no need to give our young adults any advice. They are not stupid.

    • jcdville stormers says:


    • Eyes Wide Shut says:

      Why do you think university graduates and other young adults (black, white and coloured) are flooding out of the country. They see absolutely no future for themselves here.
      It’s a shame that my children are gone and I miss them so much. But, at least I live with the comfort that they’re making lives for themselves in countries that have given them opportunities and a future.

  • Dee Bee says:

    Is there any precedent for the Daily Maverick being able to sue Malema, Shivambu and all the others who threaten them with lawsuits and don’t follow through? Suing them for intimidation, perhaps, because they constantly dole out threats, but don’t follow through? It would be fascinating seeing DM sue them to force them to sue DM!

  • David Crossley says:

    Such a sad state of affairs!
    There is absolutely no doubt that both Malema and Shivambu have benefitted enormously from the demise of VBS Bank.
    Of all the thugs in the EFF, Shivambu is undoubtedly the number one thug.

    • Mario de Abreu says:

      It is indeed sad. We can do nothing except watch from the seats, as if absorbed by a Shakespearian tragedy, except this is real life and at the end we do not clap but leave to go and earn our keep and pay our taxes, thereby continually feeding this monster that will eventually consume South Africa.

  • Joe Schlabotnik says:

    I am completely baffled by the fact that despite a mountain of evidence against the little piggies, there has still not been any action by the NPA. Incompetent? Under-resourced? Captured by un-named others who would not want to be exposed to the light that would shine on them if there was a prosecution?

    • Hermann Funk says:

      I am reasonably sure that the brief Batohi received when asked to head the NPA was not to dig too deep in certain areas. Let’s not forgot that Ramaphosa was deputy president when Zuma started robbing this country of all that was valuable.

  • Rob Glenister says:

    So what? The EFF and ANC hierarchy can loot with impunity. Nothing happens not them.

  • Neil Parker says:

    Thankyou Pauli. I salute your courageous reporting.

    Unfortunately there are no brave men in South Africa. Otherwise we/they would have prosecuted and hounded these criminals out of our Parliament. Once and for all.

  • Malema built himself a lavish security compound on a smallholding outside Polokwane around the time VBS ran dry. On the day his illegal firearm court case ended, a helicopter touched down on the property at 5pm and again after the Heritage day long week-end. He and his entourage also landed in Polokwane at the civil airport in a chartered business jet for a quick Sunday afternoon visit earlier. I never realized members of Parliament could afford such facilities and excursions.

  • George Laurens says:

    Can’t someone just make then suffer and then kill them? I unfortunately do not have the required skills

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